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1.
Arh Hig Rada Toksikol ; 72(4): 289-297, 2021 Dec 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608845

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be diagnosed as occupational disease by an occupational health physician (OHP), if supported by relevant work-related and medical documentation. The aim of this study was to analyse such documentation submitted by Croatian healthcare workers (HCWs) and discuss its relevance in view of European and Croatian guidelines. The study included 100 Croatian HCWs who were SARS-CoV-2-positive and requested that their infection be diagnosed as occupational disease by their OHPs from 1 May 2020 to 10 March 2021. As participants they were asked to fill out our online Occupational COVID-19 in Healthcare Workers Questionnaire. For the purpose of this study we analysed answers about the type of close contact at the workplace, COVID-19 symptoms, and enclosed work-related (job description, employer statement about exposure to SARS-CoV-2) and medical documentation (positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test and patient history confirming the diagnosis of COVID-19). Most participants were working in hospitals (N=95), mostly nurses (N=75), who became infected by a patient (N=68) or colleague (N=31), and had at least one COVID-19 symptom (N=87). Eighty participants did not enclose obligatory documents, 41 of whom failed to submit job description and 31 both job description and employer statement. These findings confirm that the major risk of occupational COVID-19 in HCWs is close contact with patients and colleagues, and points out the need for better cooperation between OHPs, occupational safety experts, employers, and diseased workers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Occupational Diseases , Occupational Health , Health Personnel , Humans , Occupational Diseases/diagnosis , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
2.
CMAJ ; 193(49): E1868-E1877, 2021 12 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1591952

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected health care workers. We sought to estimate SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among hospital health care workers in Quebec, Canada, after the first wave of the pandemic and to explore factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. METHODS: Between July 6 and Sept. 24, 2020, we enrolled health care workers from 10 hospitals, including 8 from a region with a high incidence of COVID-19 (the Montréal area) and 2 from low-incidence regions of Quebec. Eligible health care workers were physicians, nurses, orderlies and cleaning staff working in 4 types of care units (emergency department, intensive care unit, COVID-19 inpatient unit and non-COVID-19 inpatient unit). Participants completed a questionnaire and underwent SARS-CoV-2 serology testing. We identified factors independently associated with higher seroprevalence. RESULTS: Among 2056 enrolled health care workers, 241 (11.7%) had positive SARS-CoV-2 serology. Of these, 171 (71.0%) had been previously diagnosed with COVID-19. Seroprevalence varied among hospitals, from 2.4% to 3.7% in low-incidence regions to 17.9% to 32.0% in hospitals with outbreaks involving 5 or more health care workers. Higher seroprevalence was associated with working in a hospital where outbreaks occurred (adjusted prevalence ratio 4.16, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.63-6.57), being a nurse or nursing assistant (adjusted prevalence ratio 1.34, 95% CI 1.03-1.74) or an orderly (adjusted prevalence ratio 1.49, 95% CI 1.12-1.97), and Black or Hispanic ethnicity (adjusted prevalence ratio 1.41, 95% CI 1.13-1.76). Lower seroprevalence was associated with working in the intensive care unit (adjusted prevalence ratio 0.47, 95% CI 0.30-0.71) or the emergency department (adjusted prevalence ratio 0.61, 95% CI 0.39-0.98). INTERPRETATION: Health care workers in Quebec hospitals were at high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly in outbreak settings. More work is needed to better understand SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics in health care settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/etiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Demography , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , Incidence , Occupational Diseases/blood , Occupational Diseases/etiology , Pandemics , Quebec/epidemiology , Risk Factors , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Surveys and Questionnaires
3.
J Infect Dev Ctries ; 15(11): 1593-1596, 2021 11 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572710

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a substantial morbidity and mortality, and has put the health system under tremendous stress. A need for devising and adopting newer methods and techniques is being emphasized in the healthcare facilities to combat the effects of the SARS-CoV-2. Besides patient care, focus needs to be laid on the effective and dignified management of the deceased and medico-legal services provided by the hospitals and medical institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the likelihood of forensic experts and autopsy personnel being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 inadvertently during the autopsy, it is recommended to resort to safer and minimally invasive techniques of postmortem examination of the dead. In this regard, employing radiological techniques for postmortem examination appears to be a promising option during the COVID-19 pandemic. An inherent advantage of postmortem radiography over conventional autopsies is the minimization of the risk of transmission of infection to the health care workers. Our correspondence highlights on the possibility of using radiological facilities as an effective replacement of high-risk conventional autopsy procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Autopsy , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Facilities , Occupational Diseases/prevention & control , Radiology , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , India/epidemiology , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Pandemics , Regional Health Planning
4.
J Infect Dev Ctries ; 15(11): 1615-1617, 2021 Nov 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572706

ABSTRACT

The impacts of COVID -19 pandemic have been quite significant on healthcare providers. I was particularly challenging for those in Low and Middle-Income Countries including Sudan . Unfortunately, the pandemic has hit Sudan on extremely difficult time for the country and its people. The country was coming out of long-brutal and devastating dictatorship and transitioning to new democracy with civilian leadership. In addition to the pandemic related issues, trying to rebuild the health system during socioeconomic crisis, healthcare providers  in the country were challenged personally and professionally. These challenges include the stress of working in under-resourced settings with limited access to personal-protection equipment and testing kits raised the fear of contracting the virus and spreading it to their families. The professional, social, and personal life of healthcare providers have been dramatically changed by the ongoing pandemic, however, they are heroically accepting this change in a hope that, this will save the life of many more people. Nevertheless, their fights and sacrifices should at least be rewarded by governments and communities altogether strictly enforce the implementation of other preventive measures including vaccination, face masking, and social distancing and get all protected. We should all understand that, unless we are all protected no one is protected, so all must adapt to the new norm of life and collaborate not only on ending this pandemic but to prevent similar ones in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Occupational Diseases/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment , Sudan/epidemiology , Vaccination
5.
J Infect Dev Ctries ; 15(11): 1603-1606, 2021 11 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572701

ABSTRACT

During phase 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic in a Mexican City, informal street vendors (cases) and formal employees (controls) were interviewed. A total of 82.6% of street vendors preferred to expose themselves to the coronavirus than to stop working, compared with 18.4% of formal employees (adjusted OR = 19.4, 95%CI: 4.6-81.7, p < 0.001). Street vendors had 7 times less fear of dying from coronavirus (adjusted OR = 0.14, 95% CI: 0.03-0.5, p = 0.005) and showed a 16-times greater lack of real concern for the increase in cases in their community than the formal employees (adjusted OR = 0.06, 95% CI: 0.01-0.3, p = 0.002). Street vendors were the group with the poorest adherence to household and work area containment measures that continued to be in contact with others. The corresponding authorities must plan specific strategies that allow street vendors to survive economically, while at the same time, protecting community health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Behavior , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Workplace , Adult , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Male , Mexico/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Poverty
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488572

ABSTRACT

The epidemic of psychosocial risks continues to increase and the COVID-19 pandemic has even worsened this threat on workers' health. This inexorable and evidence-based rise seems to be impervious to the preventive strategies proposed for more than 40 years. Hypotheses are proposed to explain this serious problem that drastically impacts public health and the economy. The objectives of this paper are to present, in this broad context of societal and cultural changes, how the present shift in management paradigms may represent opportunities to reduce work-related diseases. In the first part of this paper, we will summarize the situation on three main issues and their relation with psychosocial risks: (1) evolution of the occupational safety and health field, (2) change in the nature of work, and (3) emerging models of governance. In the second part, we will describe, through a few examples (among many others), how emerging models of corporate governance may reduce and prevent stress and burnout. Work is changing fundamentally, and this impacts workers' (and managers') health and well-being; that is why approaches in line with these changes are necessary. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced major changes in work organization. This may offer promising opportunities to reanalyze working conditions for a better control of occupational diseases and stress with all the benefits these improvements will bring for society and for individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Occupational Diseases , Occupational Health , Humans , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Occupational Diseases/prevention & control , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Arh Hig Rada Toksikol ; 72(3): 232-239, 2021 Sep 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444010

ABSTRACT

One of the side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is a global change in work ergonomic patterns as millions of people replaced their usual work environment with home to limit the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) infection. The aim of our cross-sectional pilot study was to identify musculoskeletal pain that may have resulted from this change and included 232 telecommunications company workers of both genders [121 (52.2 %) men aged 23-62 (median 41; interquartile range 33-46 yrs.) and 111 (47.8 %) women aged 23-53 (median 40; interquartile range 33-44)] who had been working from home for eight months (from 16 March to 4 December 2020) before they joined the study. The participants were asked to fill in our web-based questionnaire by self-assessing their experience of hand, lower back, and upper back/neck pain while working at home and by describing their work setting and physical activity. Compared to previous work at the office, 90 (39.1 %) participants reported stronger pain in the lower back, 105 (45.7 %) in the upper back/neck, and 63 (27.2 %) in their hands. Only one third did not report any musculoskeletal problems related to work from home. Significantly fewer men than women reported hand, lower back, and upper back/ neck pain (p=0.033, p=0.001 and p=0.013, respectively). Sixty-nine workers (29.9 %) reported to work in a separate room, 75 (32.4 %) worked in a separate section of a room with other household members, whereas 87 (37.7 %) had no separate work space, 30 of whom most often worked in the dining room. Ninety-five participants (40.9 %) had no office desk to work at, and only 75 (32.3 %) used an ergonomic chair. Of those who shared their household with others (N=164), 116 (70.7 %) complained about constant or occasional disturbances. Over a half of all participants (52 %) said that they worked longer hours from home than at work, predominantly women (p=0.05). Only 69 participants (29.9 %) were taking frequent breaks, predominantly older ones (p=0.006). Our findings clearly point to a need to inform home workers how to make more ergonomic use of non-ergonomic equipment, use breaks, and exercise and to inform employers how to better organise working hours to meet the needs of work from home.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Musculoskeletal Diseases , Musculoskeletal Pain , Occupational Diseases , Telecommunications , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Musculoskeletal Pain/epidemiology , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2 , Teleworking
8.
Arh Hig Rada Toksikol ; 72(3): 240-243, 2021 Sep 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444009

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a tremendous impact on every facet of private life and work organisation in virtually all social and economic sectors worldwide. People who stand on the first line of defence are healthcare workers (HCWs) risking exposure to infected patients. However, even though they are often affected by COVID-19 and associated somatic and mental health problems, COVID-19 as a new illness was not immediately acknowledged as occupational disease. This is why several groups of HCWs contacted their occupational medicine physicians in 2020 with a request to register the infection with SARS-CoV-2 as occupational disease. In an attempt to support their appeals and show that hospital workers have a high occupational risk of COVID-19, this study presents COVID-19 incidence and symptoms in 100 employees working at 11 clinics of the Clinical Hospital Centre (CHC) Rijeka, Croatia from 1 June to end December 2020. All of them were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and took sick leave, which lasted 13.6±2.6 days in average. This study also looks into the role of occupational medicine physicians in prospective monitoring of acute and long-acting consequences of COVID-19 that might occur in HCWs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Occupational Diseases , Croatia/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(19)2021 Sep 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438618

ABSTRACT

Dental health workers (DHW) are at increased risk of acquiring occupational infections. Due to various protective measures, it can be assumed that infections have decreased over the past 14 years. Secondary data from a German accident insurance company was analyzed in terms of reported and confirmed occupational diseases (OD) in DHW from 2006 to 2019. A total of 271 claims were reported, of which 112 were confirmed as OD, representing an average of eight per year. However, the number of claims and confirmed ODs has decreased by 65.6% and 85.7%, respectively. The decrease was most evident for hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) infections, while tuberculosis (TB) infections were stable. A total of 44 HCV, 33 HBV, 6 TB and 24 latent TB infections were confirmed as ODs. For DHW, 0.05, and for hospital workers, 0.48 claims per 1000 full-time equivalents (FTE) were registered in 2019. In a separate documentation system, between March 2020 and February 2021, 155 COVID-19 claims were registered, and 47 cases were confirmed as ODs. For DHW, 0.7, and for hospital workers, 47.3 COVID-19 claims per 1000 FTE were registered since 2020. Occupational infectious diseases rarely occur among DHW. Nevertheless, new infectious diseases such as COVID-19 pose a major challenge for DHW. Continued attention should be paid to infectious disease prevention.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Occupational Diseases , Occupational Exposure , Occupational Health , Germany/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Humans , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Personnel, Hospital , SARS-CoV-2
11.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(17): 622-626, 2021 Apr 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410367

ABSTRACT

Large COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in high-density workplaces, such as food processing facilities (1). Alaska's seafood processing industry attracts approximately 18,000 out-of-state workers annually (2). Many of the state's seafood processing facilities are located in remote areas with limited health care capacity. On March 23, 2020, the governor of Alaska issued a COVID-19 health mandate (HM10) to address health concerns related to the impending influx of workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic (3). HM10 required employers bringing critical infrastructure (essential) workers into Alaska to submit a Community Workforce Protective Plan.* On May 15, 2020, Appendix 1 was added to the mandate, which outlined specific requirements for seafood processors, to reduce the risk for transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in these high-density workplaces (4). These requirements included measures to prevent introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into the workplace, including testing of incoming workers and a 14-day entry quarantine before workers could enter nonquarantine residences. After 13 COVID-19 outbreaks in Alaska seafood processing facilities and on processing vessels during summer and early fall 2020, State of Alaska personnel and CDC field assignees reviewed the state's seafood processing-associated cases. Requirements were amended in November 2020 to address gaps in COVID-19 prevention. These revised requirements included restricting quarantine groups to ≤10 persons, pretransfer testing, and serial testing (5). Vaccination of this essential workforce is important (6); until high vaccination coverage rates are achieved, other mitigation strategies are needed in this high-risk setting. Updating industry guidance will be important as more information becomes available.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Food-Processing Industry , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Alaska/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Occupational Diseases/prevention & control
12.
J Occup Health ; 63(1): e12273, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406069

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: It is unclear how many workplace COVID-19 preventive measures were maintained during repeated outbreaks. The aim of this study was to investigate a longitudinal change of implementation of workplace preventive measures responding to COVID-19 in Japan. METHODS: An online longitudinal study was conducted using a cohort of full-time employees in Japan, starting in March 2020 (T1), with follow-up surveys in May (T2), August (T3), and November (T4) 2020. A repeated measures analysis of variance was performed to compare the difference among the four surveys in the mean number of 23 predetermined items of the measures implemented. RESULTS: The final sample comprised 800 employees. The mean number of the implemented measures increased from T1 to T2, but did not change from T2 to T3, then decreased from T3 to T4. The number of workplace preventive measures significantly increased from T1 to T2 for 21 items (P < .001), and significantly decreased from T3 to T4 for 14 items (P < .001 to P = .005). CONCLUSIONS: While the preventive measures responding to COVID-19 in the workplace were well-implemented during the earlier phase of the outbreak, they seem to have been relaxed after a huge outbreak (T3 to T4: August to November 2020). Workplaces should be encouraged to continue the preventive measures over repeated outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Health Plan Implementation/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Diseases/prevention & control , Workplace/statistics & numerical data , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Employment/statistics & numerical data , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Japan , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Occupational Diseases/virology , Occupational Health/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
13.
BMC Nephrol ; 22(1): 301, 2021 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398847

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Globally, renal healthcare practitioners provide intensive and protracted support to a highly complex multi-morbid patient population however knowledge about the impact of COVID-19 on these practitioners is extremely limited. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore the experiences of COVID-19 with renal healthcare practitioners during the first global lockdown between June 2020 and September 2020. METHODS: A multi-methods approach was carried out including a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews. This was a multinational study of renal healthcare practitioners from 29 countries. Quantitative: A self-designed survey on COVID-19 experiences and standardised questionnaires (General Health Questionnaire-12; Maslach Burnout Inventory). Descriptive statistics were generated for numerical data. Qualitative: Online semi-structured interviews were conducted. Data was subjected to thematic analysis. Renal healthcare practitioners (n = 251) completed an online survey. Thirteen renal healthcare practitioners took part in semi-structured interviews (12 nurses and 1 dietician). RESULTS: The majority of participants surveyed were female (86.9 %; n = 218), nurses (86.9 %; n = 218) with an average 21.5 (SD = 11.1) years' experience since professional qualification, and 16.3 years (SD = 9.3) working in renal healthcare. Survey responses indicated a level of preparedness, training and satisfactory personal protective equipment during the pandemic however approximately 40.3 % experienced fear about attending work, and 49.8 % experienced mental health distress. The highest prevalence of burnout was emotional exhaustion (35.9 %). Three themes emerged from the qualitative analysis highlighting the holistic complexities in managing renal healthcare, a neglected specialist workforce, and the need for appropriate support at work during a pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Results have highlighted the psychological impact, in terms of emotional exhaustion and mental health distress in our sample of renal healthcare practitioners. As the pandemic has continued, it is important to consider the long-term impact on an already stretched workforce including the risk of developing mental health disorders. Future research and interventions are required to understand and improve the provision of psychological support for specialist medical and nursing personnel.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Global Health , Nephrology/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Adult , Aged , Burnout, Professional/epidemiology , Burnout, Professional/psychology , COVID-19/therapy , Clinical Competence/statistics & numerical data , Fear/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nephrology Nursing/economics , Nephrology Nursing/statistics & numerical data , Nursing Staff, Hospital/psychology , Nursing Staff, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Occupational Diseases/psychology , Personal Protective Equipment , Psychological Distress , Qualitative Research , Workforce
15.
J Hosp Infect ; 110: 172-177, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385938

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Studying the spatiotemporal distribution of SARS-CoV-2 infections among healthcare workers (HCWs) can aid in protecting them from exposure. AIM: To describe the spatiotemporal distributions of SARS-CoV-2 infections among HCWs in Wuhan, China. METHODS: In this study, an open-source dataset of HCW diagnoses was provided. A geographical detector technique was then used to investigate the impacts of hospital level, type, distance from the infection source, and other external indicators of HCW infections. FINDINGS: The number of daily HCW infections over time in Wuhan followed a log-normal distribution, with its mean observed on January 23rd, 2020, and a standard deviation of 10.8 days. The implementation of high-impact measures, such as the lockdown of the city, may have increased the probability of HCW infections in the short term, especially for those in the outer ring of Wuhan. The infection of HCWs in Wuhan exhibited clear spatial heterogeneity. The number of HCW infections was higher in the central city and lower in the outer city. CONCLUSION: HCW infections displayed significant spatial autocorrelation and dependence. Factor analysis revealed that hospital level and type had an even greater impact on HCW infections; third-class and general hospitals closer to infection sources were correlated with especially high risks of infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Adult , China/epidemiology , Factor Analysis, Statistical , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Spatio-Temporal Analysis
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